FEELING BITTER AND BETRAYED POST
A while back, I took part in a well publicised attempt at a local arts centre to create the biggest cartoon strip in the word. It was a fun event held over a summer weekend and all participants of different ages were working on A2 sized sheets. You could make up your own stories or use ones that had been handed in by locals over the preceding months. I completed five stories – the ones that come to mind were an illustration of a man’s 1930’s childhood tale of the excitement caused by a red balloon, a modern day child’s story of their first day at school (she ate spaghetti bolognaise), and drawings of local actor Ian McDiarmid, best known for playing Palpatine in the Star Wars movies.
As it happened the guy running the event stuck all the art together. Although I wasn't crazy about the idea, I was willing to donate the art to their care - I didn't want to ruin the record attempt. What I specified though was that I definitely wanted copies of my work so I could use it in my own self-published comics. He agreed to that, explaining the digital camera he planned to use to do this with all the artwork. Fine.
Anyway, you already know how the story is going to go. I continually phoned this guy, and popped into the arts centre after work (I commute in and out of town, so it wasn’t too handy). Each time, smiles all round and no problem, “I’ll put it on a CD, give me your e-mail, postal address” etc.
Months later I’d still heard nothing, and meanwhile started in a new job. There was an employee leaving my new workplace to go work at this arts centre. So! I ask her to ask them about the artwork.
Today I received confirmation that my artwork, and all the rest of it, was chucked in the bin. It’s not altogether surprising, but very disheartening.
This is something that has continually happened to me as I have temporarily left my artwork with other people. I have had my artwork “lost” or outright thrown away by an art college, a museum, and my workplace.
It is impossible for other people to care as much about your artwork as you do. So my advice in my current miserable frame of mind is to be a hardass and keep your hands on it at all times.
“People don’t realise what they have when they own a picture by me. Each picture is a phial of my blood. That is what has gone into it.”
Pablo Picasso, 1954